School shooting leaves 12-year-old student dead

VANTAA, FI – A school shooting tragically unfolded in Vantaa, Finland on Tuesday, where a 12-year-old student allegedly killed one of his peers and severely injured two others, according to local law enforcement. The victims were all of the same age. After the incident, authorities apprehended the young suspect in the Helsinki area, reportedly with the firearm still with him.

Local authorities arrived on scene, securing Viertola school – with around 800 learners enrolled, from grades 1 through 9 – at about 9:08 in the morning, in response to reports of active gunfire. In the aftermath, school principal Sari Laasila revealed speaking about the immediate cessation of threats at the school premises.

The Finnish Interior Minister, Mari Rantanen raised concerns about the horrifying event at the morning assembly, empathizing with affected families and confirming that the suspected perpretator has been arrested.

Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo also expressed his shock at the disturbing event. As of now, authorities have not established a clear motive for the shooting.

A bit over a decade ago, Finland weathered two major deadly school shooting sprees. In November 2007, an 18-year-old with a semi-automatic pistol at Jokela high school in Tuusula killed nine people before committing suicide. Shortly after, in September 2008, a 22-year-old at a vocational college in Kauhajoki claimed the lives of 10 individuals before shooting himself.

Gun ownership features largely in the characteristically sparsely-populated and historically hunting-prone northern European country of 5.6 million. There are approximately 1.5 million licensed firearms in the country, owned by about 430,000 license holders, with permits granted by local police units. In response to the violent school shootings in 2007 and 2008, Finland augmented its gun control policies by increasing the minimum allowable age for firearm possession, and enhancing law enforcement’s capacity to conduct background checks.